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October 31, 2013
This call is on the Army defense
When Army steps onto the football turf at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs (CO) to take on Air Force, there are two levels of "fort" that Army fans will most likely have prior to kick-off.
The first is "com-fort" ... for which most of the Army faithful have in the Black Knights' nation's leading rushing offense and one that they believe Air Force will not have an answer for. As such, it will be imperative that the Army defense show-up and shut down the Falcons' offense.
Hence, the second "fort" translates to "discom-fort", which pertains to the Army defense. Yes, it is a defense that has been maligned by injuries, but even prior to that .... it lacked physicality, intensity and on field presence.
Against rival Air Force, the Black Knights can not afford to give up points as they have with Ball State (40), Stanford (34) and Boston College (48).
The picture is not completely grime, as there have been a few notable bright spots to be found, even after the team's dismal 33-14 loss to Temple two weekends ago.
There has been the play of nose tackle Richard Glover, the emergence of MLB, Colby Miller, the freshmen play of CB, Josh Jenkins and DE, Malcolm Hudson.
Add to that, you have the hopeful return of free safety Geoffery Bacon and left D-end Bobby Kough to the line-up, along with shifting to the offense and the clearance of quarterback Angel Santiago, along with back-up A.J. Schurr to play against Air Force and you have the making of a Black Knights' team who has window of opportunity (albeit small) to turn their season around ... hopefully.
So who will manning the gate on Saturday?
Glover will line up at at the nose tackle, with T.J. Atimalala, who is logging in approximately 15 reps per game will back up Glover. The junior defensive tackle [Glover] extended playing time is a direct function of his continuous progression.
At the quick position you will have Hudson. The frosh has really good football presence and is pretty explosive. One of his assets is that he can change direction well, whereby he is registering 4-5 tackles per game. However, as a young player he still has a long way to go on his pass rush, the he has solid upside.
As previously mentioned, Kough's back at left end, with Mike Ugenyi at right end.
Then look for Legacy Captain Jarrett Mackey at the other outside backer (Whip), with Miller holding down the middle linebacker spot. You will probably see Kyle Maxwell getting some reps at end, and then Holt Zalneraitis also returning from his calf strain ... and he will be backing up Hudson.
Dalton Mendenhall is nursing his injury and may be doubtful for Saturday's showdown.
Like Mendenhall, tri-captain Thomas Holloway is still on the mend, which means you will see Justin Trimble start his 3rd game in a row at the Rover position.
With Bacon's return, look for the secondary to consist of cornerbacks, Jenkins, Chris Carnegie and Shaquille Tolbert at strong safety (Sam).
Prior to last Saturday bye week, this is an Army team that had gone three months straight without a break ... from camp to through eight games.
Add to that fact are the opponents that the Black Knights have faced thus far. Many of those teams bring a physicality brand of football as part of their identity versus the common place-wide open style that has become popular amongst many programs today. As such, the physical nature of college football is still prevalent today, but just in wider spaces and that has taken its toll on the Army football personnel.
That is where the Black Knights will have to do a much better job at managing that space, but also be physical in doing so.
Saturday is a new season for the Army squad, who must bring their "A" game in every facet of the contest.
** GoBlackKnights.com presents the Army team store where you can buy jerseys, hats, hoodies, t-shirts, jackets, and more, which make great Holiday gifts. CLICK HERE to start your shopping. **